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South Africa’s Sun International results lifted by eased restrictions

JOHANNESBURG,(The Southern African Times) – South African casino and hotel group Sun International said on Monday its half-year headline loss narrowed to 7 million rand ($475,104), and that it has placed its Eswatini operation into liquidation after not being able to pay creditors.

The travel and leisure sector is showing signs of slight recovery as South Africans have started booking domestic trips rather than foreign travel, and visiting casinos again.

However curfew hours, restrictions on serving alcohol and limited demand from international business and leisure travel into the country prevented a meaningful recovery.

South Africa’s slow COVID-19 vaccination roll-out has also weighed on demand.

The group, which runs the Sun City resort and high-end hotels The Maslow Sandton and The Table Bay, reported an adjusted headline loss of 885 million rand in the prior year.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization from continuing operations increased to 739 million rand from 60 million rand, Sun International said.

Casino income, its biggest revenue generator, rose by 53% to 2.3 billion rand despite low footfall due to a lack of shows, concerts and general entertainment at its casino complexes.

Income at the resorts and hospitality operations rose by 21%, while alternate gaming, which includes sports betting, jumped by 97% as international sports resumed.

Overall group income from continuing operations rose by 51% to 3.8 billion rand.

Sun International has been looking to exit Eswatini, formally known as Swaziland, since 2016, but had been waiting for final regulatory approvals from the King to sell its 51% stake in Swazispa.

Hurt by lockdowns and not being able to obtain additional funding from shareholders, Swazispa was unable to pay its creditors and its liabilities exceeded its assets, forcing it to be placed into final liquidation, the firm said.

“We couldn’t get the deal done and didn’t have any money to continue operating it. So we can’t keep it anymore,” Group Chief Executive Anthony Leeming told SAT.

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